PEACE QUIET AND

60FT Russ Hub­ble semi-trad cruises with barely a whis­per

Canal Boat - - Front Page - WORDS BY ADAM PORTER PIC­TURES BY ANDY R ANNABLE

Is it elec­tric, ask tow­path walk­ers as a sound­proofed Beta pro­vides a beau­ti­fully peace­ful power plant on this 60ft semi-trad

Hav­ing a new boat built is un­doubt­edly ex­cit­ing – but it’s also a chal­lenge. There are hun­dreds of de­ci­sions to be made, and many of them have knock-on ef­fects. And there’s pres­sure to get things right, first time. Some peo­ple un­der­stand­ably find the whole ex­pe­ri­ence a bit stress­ful.

But not Nigel May. He en­joyed ev­ery mo­ment of his boat build – and got very in­volved. He loves re­search­ing prod­ucts and find­ing new so­lu­tions to prob­lems, and put his skills to good use on the boat be­ing built for him and his wife, Jane.

Their boat was be­ing built by Russ Hub­ble Boats, but Nigel’s choices are ev­ery­where – from the paint­work to the cup­board door han­dles, the lights to the Morse con­trol.

The cou­ple have also been boat­ing for many years, so used their ex­pe­ri­ence to de­sign a boat that will suit their needs in the fu­ture. Ex­te­rior

Anasazi II is a 60ft boat, built on a shell by Cole­craft. As you might ex­pect from one of the big name shell builders, the steel­work looks good, with smooth sides and crisp corners. The boat has one of Cole­craft’s typ­i­cal bows, which looks quite sharply pointed. The handrails have a use­ful fin­ger grip all the way along. There are a few other fea­tures to the steel­work which Nigel spe­cially asked for. There are ex­tra T-studs on the gun­wales just be­hind the cratch and ex­tra dol­lies at the stern, to give him more op­tions when he’s moor­ing up. They should help in those all-too-com­mon sit­u­a­tions when the moor­ing

rings or bol­lards are just the wrong dis­tance apart for your length of boat.

This is a cruiser stern – not some­thing Nigel orig­i­nally wanted, but he was per­suaded by Jane that a boat with a large rear deck would be much more so­cia­ble. There’s plenty of seat­ing, with an arc of lock­ers at the stern pro­vid­ing some­where very pleas­ant to sit, plus a gas locker ei­ther side of the cen­tral door down into the boat, all of which are fit­ted with cush­ions. One of the gas lock­ers houses the bot­tle cur­rently in use, while the spare sits in the other.

It’s a sen­si­ble place for them, both be­cause the gal­ley is at the stern, and be­cause chang­ing a bot­tle is far eas­ier on the rear deck than hav­ing to bal­ance on the nose of the boat. The rear doors are split, sta­ble style, so the top half can open fully, above the lock­ers.

The en­gine boards are cov­ered in Tek-Dek, a com­pos­ite ma­te­rial which looks like teak deck­ing. In this case, it’s in a grey fin­ish which looks very at­trac­tive and suits the boat’s colour scheme.

The whole of the cruiser stern deck is cov­ered by a large and elab­o­rate pram hood. These hoods do very lit­tle for the lines of any boat, but they do make the space into a kind of in­door-out­door area, and are very prac­ti­cal.

Be­cause the gas is at the stern, the locker in the nose is avail­able for stor­age. There’s the usual lift­ing hatch at the top, but there’s also ac­cess through dou­ble doors from the well deck, which also has stor­age lock­ers both sides, again with cush­ions.

The win­dows and port­holes are ther­mal break frames by Wes­ley, in a black fin­ish. The cou­ple have gone for arch-topped Dutch barge style win­dows for the gal­ley and saloon, as they wanted the deep­est win­dows pos­si­ble. In my view, they work bet­ter from the inside than the out­side, where the frames cut through the coach­lines.

The colour scheme is a clas­sic dark blue, with pale blue pan­els at the stern, white coach­lines, and red handrails. Nigel wanted to make sure the paint­work was as tough and lon­glast­ing as pos­si­ble, so sought the ad­vice of a friend who works in the paint in­dus­try. He rec­om­mended a rel­a­tively new paint by In­ter­na­tional, the Perfection Pro. It’s a two-pack sys­tem, which ap­par­ently took the builders rather longer to ap­ply than their usual choice. The fin­ish looks good, al­though of course only time will tell whether it re­ally is longer last­ing.

Lay­out and fitout

This is a re­verse lay­out boat with the gal­ley at the stern. The dinette and saloon comes next, fol­lowed by a walk-through shower room. The cabin is at the bow.

The fitout uses oak for the hull and cabin sides, and the sig­nif­i­cant amount of fur­ni­ture on board. I didn’t count them, but eas­ily be­lieve it when I’m told there are 53 cup­board doors on board. The qual­ity of the join­ery is some­thing we’ve ad­mired be­fore on Russ Hub­ble boats, and this one is no ex­cep­tion. Ev­ery­thing is well made and fits per­fectly. Ev­ery screw­head is cov­ered with an oak plug; there are ap­par­ently 400 of them in the ceil­ing – which you can’t even see be­cause it’s painted. That’s what you call at­ten­tion to de­tail. The floor is hard-wear­ing Karn­dean.

Gal­ley

Three steps bring you down from the stern deck into the gal­ley. All three have lift­ing treads for stor­age, but the bot­tom step also con­tains a fan heater. This runs off the cen­tral heat­ing sys­tem just like any other ra­di­a­tor, but also comes on when the wa­ter in the calori­fier is up to tem­per­a­ture. There are cup­boards each side of the steps. One is a coat cup­board, while the one op­po­site is the elec­tri­cal cup­board, with the calori­fier in the bot­tom half. All the at­trac­tive door han­dles through­out the boat were re­searched on­line and sourced from China. As there are lots of doors, there are also a lot of these han­dles.

The gal­ley proper has a range of in­ter­est­ing stor­age so­lu­tions. There’s a pull-out larder unit, while the cup­board above it is filled with draw­ers to make

the best use of the space. The kitchen units have more draw­ers in the kick space, and there’s ex­tra stor­age in the floor. Pan­els lift up on gas struts to re­veal space for veg and wine (it’s cool down there, close to the base plate). One of the cup­boards con­tains waste and re­cy­cling bins.

The work­tops are made of Co­rian, and in­clude a moulded sink. Ap­pli­ances in­clude a 240 volt fridge, a wash­ing ma­chine, a Thet­ford oven set at eye level with a mi­crowave above, and a Thet­ford four-burner hob.

Dinette and saloon

A half-height bulk­head sep­a­rates the gal­ley and the saloon – but it’s wide enough to pro­vide stor­age for the boat’s many ta­bles. Pan­els lift out of the top of the unit, and it’s car­peted inside so the ta­ble tops don’t get scratched. There’s a choice of a large ta­ble or two small ones (which can be used in­di­vid­u­ally or to­gether), and there’s also an oval one which is in­tended for use on the rear deck, but would work just as well inside.

The dinette it­self is up­hol­stered in leather. It has stor­age in the base, and con­verts eas­ily into a dou­ble bed; the base pulls out and the back­rest fol­lows it into the hor­i­zon­tal po­si­tion.

On the op­po­site side of the boat is a re­mark­ably long unit, un­der the gun­wales. It con­tains a num­ber of cup­boards, a cou­ple of them glazed, to house among other things the satel­lite TV box and other gub­bins. The cen­tral sec­tion is deeper, and has been de­signed to house an im­pres­sive Bose sound bar. The large flatscreen TV is mounted on the cabin side above.

The hearth con­tains a Lock­gate Re­fleks diesel stove, cho­sen both for its looks and the fact that it doesn’t need coal or wood. The boat has a sep­a­rate diesel tank for heat­ing, sup­ply­ing both this stove and the cen­tral heat­ing.

Be­tween the hearth and the door through to the shower room is a full height unit. The up­per door has a mir­ror on the front. There is LED mood light­ing un­der the gun­wales. It has a re­mote con­trol, and the colour can be changed at the touch of a but­ton. There are also in­di­vid­u­ally switched wall lights, which Nigel sourced from Italy. Shower room

The shower is a good-sized 800mm quad­rant, and is lined with sparkly lam­i­nate. Be­tween the shower and the side of the boat is a cup­board and some deep shelves.

The basin unit has stor­age un­der­neath, with a Co­rian work­top and basin. There’s also a high level cup­board.

The loo is a cas­sette, and Nigel found a Dometic model which doesn’t have the tall back panel usu­ally seen. The toi­let has been po­si­tioned against a low bulk­head, so the cas­sette can be taken out in the shower room, rather than in the cabin be­hind.

There’s a towel rail, and the lights have dou­ble switches, so they can be turned on and off from ei­ther the saloon or the cabin.

Cabin

The cabin is a fairly un­com­pli­cated space. The bed goes across the boat; a sec­tion of the base pulls out to form the in­fill, and a mat­tress sec­tion flips over. There are also draw­ers in the end of the bed base, with longer-term stor­age at the far end.

There are a cou­ple of bed­side cab­i­nets, and some high level units. The bed­side lights look ex­actly the same as the ones in the saloon – but they don’t have in­te­gral switches; in­stead there are easy to reach switches un­der the

gun­wale. There are a cou­ple of large wardrobes ei­ther side of the door to the well deck, and there’s a TV mounted on a bracket in the cor­ner.

Tech­ni­cal

This boat is pow­ered by the Su­per Silent ver­sion of the fa­mil­iar Beta 43 – which means it’s en­closed in a sound­proof box. The stern gland is self-lu­bri­cat­ing, so you don’t need to turn the greaser af­ter each trip. The bow thruster is a Ve­tus 75kgf.

There are six 160Ah do­mes­tic bat­ter­ies, and the boat has a 24 volt sys­tem rather than 12 volt. A 240 volt sup­ply comes from Vic­tron 3kw in­verter. There’s also a Dometic Trav­elPower, which is an en­gine driven gen­er­a­tor, which will be needed to run the wash­ing ma­chine.

There are two 100 watt flex­i­ble so­lar pan­els on the roof to help with charg­ing. They’re con­trolled by a Vic­tron MPPT 75/10 controller, to max­imise the power they put into the bat­ter­ies.

The cen­tral heat­ing comes from a Kabola KB20 diesel boiler. It has the lat­est Blue Flame tech­nol­ogy, and claims to be the clean­est and most ef­fi­cient boiler of its type on the mar­ket.

On the wa­ter

The sound­proof box around the Beta 43 in this boat works very well: it’s a very quiet boat, with per­haps the most no­tice­able noise com­ing from the fan which draws ex­tra air into the en­gine hole to keep it cool. Nigel and Jane say they’ve been asked sev­eral times by tow­path walk­ers whether it’s an elec­tric boat, so quiet is it.

Nigel is par­tic­u­larly proud of the Morse con­trol he’s found. He was keen to re­duce the num­ber of switches needed, so this one con­trols the bow thruster as well as the en­gine. The knob on the top can be twisted to give a burst of bow thruster. It’s a good idea – and as these Morse con­trols are read­ily avail­able (they’re used a lot on yachts, ap­par­ently) it’s a bit of a sur­prise that we haven’t seen one be­fore.

The han­dling of the boat is fine, as you might ex­pect from a Cole­craft shell. It re­sponds well to the tiller, and turns nicely – we had to wind twice dur­ing our test.

The stern deck is a very so­cia­ble space when cruis­ing. There’s plenty of space for crew, and they have mul­ti­ple op­tions of where to sit.

The own­ers

Jane and Nigel May fol­lowed one of the clas­sic routes to boat own­er­ship. Nigel has been sail­ing since he was a child, and had his first boat­ing hol­i­day at the age of 19. Jane wasn’t into sail­ing, so they con­cen­trated on the hire boat hol­i­days in­stead.

From there the cou­ple even­tu­ally bought into a boat share scheme.

They bought their own boat in 2010, sec­ond hand, hav­ing down­sized their house. It was a 55ft trad, which was sold while they planned this boat as its re­place­ment.

The cou­ple of years they spent without a boat proved how much they needed one!

Jane has re­tired from work as a civil ser­vant. Nigel works as a mer­chan­dis­ing man­ager for a big brand of sail­ing cloth­ing. He’s plan­ning to re­tire in a few years, so the cou­ple can spend even more time on their boat.

The gal­ley has a range of in­ter­est­ing stor­age so­lu­tions

The diesel stove was cho­sen for its looks

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